• Milo’s new album considered his most professional yet
By Naomi Klouda
“Miles of Eva” is Milo Matthews’ sixth solo album, yet the well-known musician considers it his debut.
How can that be, given the definition of debut is to “formally introduce one to the public?”
“I’ve spent the past 20 years on these songs, and some go back to 1989,” Milo said. “It’s a compilation of everything I’ve done, everything I am. This is the first recording I’ve done in this way – no holds barred. I worked on it every day for a year.”
The local musician whose name surfaces in conjunction with many musical events and venues in town is becoming an essential standard, giving a versatile cross section of art, youth and adult concerts. Along the way, he also makes big contributions to the lives of musicians through his production company Lovelifemusic, with his wife, Shawn Zuke.
The new album, called “Miles of Eva” in reference to his son, Miles, and daughter, Eva, ranges in musical genre from funk to reggae to softer jazz-like vocals. After mixing the music at his local studio, Milo embellished the final mix in a collaboration with Peter Ratner in Anchorage and the Philosopher’s Barn Eric James of London for a professional finish. All this was done by Internet, which allowed Milo to stay home in Homer and continue his musical life uninterrupted by the travel that used to drain artists in the past.
“I like to be in the same room with people I’m working with in production. It’s good energy. But this way, working from a distance, we got a lot done and because I was able to stay in my own space, I worked from my own creative energy,” he said.
Milo was raised in Boston, and began playing the bass at the age of 12. Through his teens and early 20s, he “busked” the subways, making a living playing for eight hours underground in the subways. He credits the experience with teaching him a lot about music and also performing.
“When I started, it was always, ‘why aren’t people giving money?’ and when I was more aware of that, no one would pay much attention, so I started focusing on the music and different styles and experimenting. I would close my eyes and just feel the music, and then I would open my eyes and my case would be full of money and people around me were really getting into what I was playing. I learned about that connection,” Milo recalled in a recent Homer Tribune interview with Katie Emerick.
Writing and composing music occupies one side of Milo’s artistry; helping other musicians through producing their CDs takes up another set of his honing skills. With his wife Zuke, the couple is recording CDs for Cindy McKenna, Ruben Cash, the Alaska Women Songwriters for Peace Album, Sally Wills and others. Zuke, whose Alaska Women album has successfully raised about $3,000 for Haven House so far, has a solo CD coming out tentatively called “Still Free and Clear.”
“We want to take (Lovelifemusic) as far as we can, not just for Homer musicians but to reach out to whoever comes here,” Milo said. Since album sales are dwindling, due to iTune and other Internet transitions, marketing CDs require availing of a whole other set of “opportunities,” Milo said. One is an aggressive local marketing approach where albums are sold where ever musicians play and especially on home turf. A new movement called “Concerts in Your Home,” hosted by patrons in locations that require tours, also give new venue opportunities as a chance for audiences to experience greater personal interactions with up and coming artists.
Milo and Zuke, in a holistic approach to their performance and production careers, are concerned about a spiritual plane of living in service to others. Meditation and yoga, for example, would be offered to artists who come to stay with Zuke and Milo while recording their CDs.
“The biggest thing that we’re about,” Milo said, “is being self aware, being aware of your choices, and being aware that you’re here. Being aware of the person next to you, that we are one, that we do love each other. It doesn’t mean that you have to change the world, but you do have to be aware of your choices.”
The path to spirituality has been a journey for Milo, who grew up as a Baptist born-again Christian, and Zuke who grew up Catholic. They find a home among members of the Center for Spiritual Living which meets on certain Sundays of the month at Land’s End.
Yet, perhaps their outlook is spelled out best in the chosen title of their production company: Lovelifemusic.
As they say by way of explanation: “LoveLifeMusic honors the divine in all of us, manifesting positive, peaceful messages that resonate and awaken the spirit … and grooves that make you want to shake it on the dance floor.”
Catch Milo tonight at the Down East.
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